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Birding holidays

Map

Activity level:

easy/moderate walks

Photos 2, 3, 6 © Csonka Péter
Photo 4 © Nehézy László

Europe/Birding tours Hungary

Crane Spectacular

Hortobágy and Bükk Hills, 8 days

Autumn is a special season on the Great Hungarian Plains, the famous Hortobágy. In the wetlands, amongst tens of thousands of Greater White-fronted Geese we search for Lesser White-fronts. Many interesting birds can be seen at the fishponds, such as Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant and many waders, herons, egrets and wildfowl. Evenings are highlighted by the tens of thousands of trumpeting Common Cranes flying low overhead into their evening roost. We enjoy grandstand views from wooden watchtowers and hear their trumpeting fanfare in the sunset. It will be an unforgettable experience!

Another attraction of late autumn is the big roost of Long-eared Owls found in villages. Dotterels are still around in the Hortobágy, Stone Curlews gather before migrating south and Great Bustards are often seen in small groups. Raptors are well represented with Imperial Eagle, Saker, Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier and Merlin.

The Bükk Hills are characterized by colourful beech woods interspersed with open meadows with limestone karst formations. Old beech and oak forest provide home for Ural Owls and woodpeckers including Black, White-backed and Grey-headed. In a beautiful valley we look for Hawfinch and Rock Bunting. Morning walks around our hotel might produce up to 5 species of woodpeckers, including Syrian and Middle Spotted.

This birding tour is designed to be well-paced holiday, including many extras in terms of birds, wildlife, food, culture, and of course, the opportunity to taste the well-known local wines!

Facts

  • 8 days in Hungary visiting the famous Hortobágy and Bükk National Parks
  • begin and end in Budapest
  • using two family run hotels located close to the birding sites

Highlights

  • 4 days in the Hortobágy Puszta visiting wide-open steppes, fishponds and experiencing the mass migration of cranes
  • 3 days in the Bükk hills visiting dense deciduous forests, limestone rock formations and quarries
  • wide variety of birds and habitats
  • trips of Dotterels, dozens of roosting Long-eared Owls
  • plenty of herons, raptors, woodpeckers and other interesting bird species

Hotels

4 nights in a hotel close to Hortobágy National Park
3 nights in an excellent, family run hotel at the foot of the Bükk Hills, with the best cuisine in the region

Departure Dates

13-20 October 2024
Ask about possible dates

Price

from 1,920 € + 265 € (single room supplement)
Ask for the actual price

Itinerary

1

Upon arrival at Budapest airport we head eastwards towards the Hortobágy National Park, birding en route.

2-4

3 days are spent in the national park taking in the fishpond systems, including the well known Hortobágy Halastó, where we look for Lesser White-fronted Goose, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, waders, Bearded and Penduline Tit. We visit typical steppe habitats for raptors and trips of Dotterel still present on their staged migration. We look for Stone Curlew and Great Bustard near Nagyiván. Large roosts of Long-eared Owls can be enjoyed during the daylight hours. Evenings wil be spent with experiencing the spectacle of masses of migrating Cranes flying low overhead into their night roost.

5

We head towards the Bükk hills stopping at promising sites along the way to search for Saker Falcon and Imperial Eagle.

6-7

In the Bükk National Park we visit the largely untouched parts of the forest to search for woodpeckers and Ural Owl. We stroll through picturesque valleys and visit an abandoned quarry to search for woodland birds, keeping our eyes open for Rock Bunting. Syrian Woodpecker and Middle Spotted Woodpecker can be spotted in the village near to our hotel where Hawfinch and Black Redstart are also plentiful.

8

Travel to Budapest Airport stopping en route to look for some additional species.

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